My birthday bash with lovely wines and even lovelier people

Me, David Shaw, Emily Harman, Natalie Christensen, Greg Sherwood

I had a big birthday recently. I’m not going to bore you with some intense post on time, ageing and pseudo-profound thoughts on how age brings more than it takes away, and that we are just playing a role, and we pass the baton on – […]

I have another new phone - this time, it's love

We’re so used to our smart phones that it’s hard to imagine what we’d do without them, and it’s hard to remember what it was like to have really terrible smart phones. But it wasn’t all that long ago that we got quite excited and paid lots of money for handsets that now we’d never […]

Château Pichon Baron 2013

Recently I was lucky to be able to taste all the Pichon Barons from the current era, 2001 until 2014. They were lovely wines, but one was missing: the 2013. This is widely regarded to be the weakest Bordeaux vintage of recent years (perhaps alongside the 2007), but I had a bottle lurking, so I […]

Some thoughts on Minimum Unit Pricing of booze

Big news in the drinks trade yesterday, although this is less relevant to readers of this blog: Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of booze has been ruled legal, and Scotland are going to roll it out.

It’s a big deal, because now this is legal (it was claimed by opponents that it broke EU competition law), it […]

Back at the IWC for some more wine judging

It’s Tranche 1 of the 2018 International Wine Challenge this week. [In case you are wondering why it’s 2018, not 2017, a couple of years ago an extra week’s judging was included in November in order to (1) take some of the pressure off the two-weeks’ judging process in April and (2) suit better the […]

Wine writing is drowning

Wine writing is in its death throes, and there’s not much that can be done about it. [If it’s not already dead, that is.]

Why? It is because it is drowning in the sea of content. [And here we’re talking content as in media, rather than a state of peaceful happiness.]

This is not because there aren’t […]

In my wandering, am I lost?

I woke in the middle of the night. This occasionally happens. When it does, my mind is frequently overactive.

The dead of night is rarely the best time to think about deep things. I remember as a child that the shadows on the curtains became monsters; as an adult, it’s sort of similar – fears and […]

It's all about balance

As a wine journalist, I’m always excited by new things. The latest. The trendiest. The novel. People at the extremes.

That’s good: these things are all exciting. Change is part of life itself, and time keeps moving on.

And when it comes to wine itself, I’m often drawn to things that are a bit on the edge. […]

Tasting some Japanese wines from the Hokkaido region

Today I got to taste some Japanese wines, as part of a tasting for Yamamoto Akihiko’s www.winereport.jp publication.

These wines are all from Hokkaido, a relatively new wine region in the far north of Japan that is now the most important in the country. Because of global warming it’s now possible to plant vinifera varieties here, […]

Score inflation is everywhere and it's killing wine criticism

These towers used to be the tallest….

Back in 1984, I sat my ‘O’ level exams at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. I was a quiet, geeky pupil – a classic in-betweener, friends with some of the cool set but not part of it, and an ally of the square, loser kids. And […]